There's Another Horrifying Type Of Female Genital Mutilation You Haven't Heard Of
Labia stretching is a popular form of genital mutilation, common in countries like Africa and parts of the UK, in which women try to elongate their inner labia.
While some women might voluntarily do it, the act becomes illegal and is considered a human rights violation to all women when it's done to children.
According to the BBC video below, girls are taught from a young age that having a longer inner labia will get make them more attractive to men.
What's the appeal of the elongated labia? Well, it is believed that men will enjoy sex because it gives them something to "play" with, and that a longer labia will improve sex for women by increasing friction against their genitals, upping their chance at achieving orgasm.
It is believed that men will enjoy sex because it gives them something to "play" with, and that a longer labia will improve sex for women by increasing friction against their genitals, upping their chance at achieving orgasm.
Girls as young as nine are pulling or tugging at their vaginal lips to make them longer — as long as five inches. Some will even go to greater lengths, tying weights or strings to the lips to help speed up the stretching process.
Girls as young as nine are pulling or tugging at their vaginal lips to make them longer.
Labia stretching is also seen as a bonding activity of sorts. Girls are also encouraged to "help" each other out by pulling at each other's labias, and in the meantime, they'll gossip about the latest drama.
The risky practice comes along with some not-so-minor health risks.
Most obviously, as the above video describes, physically stretching out that skin can result in tears and lacerations in the vagina.
Furthermore, Key Correspondents (an HIV awareness program) finds that the girls put themselves at a higher risk of contracting an STD by touching each other's labia out without any gloves on their hands. It leaves room for them to contract diseases as they pull multiple girls and increase the possibility of transferring vaginal fluids and blood.
Girls put themselves at a higher risk of contracting an STD by stretching each other's labia out without any sort of gloves on their hands.
Also, women in these communities end up paying the price for this big-time. They feel an extra pressure to orgasm every time they have sex and are thrown out of their homes and shunned from their communities for failing to do so.
Now, your vagina is your vagina, and you're allowed to do whatever you want with it as a fully independent adult. And many women do choose to have the procedure done as fully consenting adults.
That being said, it does not change the fact that labia stretching is objectively considered a form of genital mutilation by the World Health Organization's definition. The WHO defines genital mutilation as "procedures and practices meant to intentionally injure or alter the female genital organs for non-medical reasons."
The WHO defines genital mutilation as "procedures and practices meant to intentionally injure or alter the female genital organs for non-medical reasons."
Also, the simple fact that the act is considered female genital mutilation does not necessarily make it illegal.
The best way to put an end to something like this is to simply educate women of the risks that come along with it, as the police in the UK are attempting to do in the video.
However, if people are going to continue to do it the best thing we can do is to make sure they are doing it in a clean and safe manner.
Citations: Labia Stretching, Meant To Sexually Arouse Men, Is The Genital Mutilation Act You've Likely Never Heard Of (Medical Daily), Female genital mutilation (World Health Organization), AFRICAN SEX CULTURE | LABIA ELONGATION (Orijin)